First live show, final 12
Tx: 10th October 2009
200,000 applied. 12 remain. Tonight, for the first time they sing live for our votes, but don't worry, I'm sure the auditioning live in front of an audience will have settled their nerves. It's Time. To Face. THE MUSIC!
Live from London, here's Dermot! He greets us and welcomes us, while the sheep in the audience bleat. Tonight the theme is "musical heroes" (which: not a theme), and the contestants must impress "the fantastic four", ie the judges, overlooking the known FACT that at least one of them is not fantastic in the slightest. Holy fuck, what is Cheryl wearing? It is like a dress worn by a very slutty angel on top of a Christmas tree, with a see-through net skirt.
Dermot tries to excite us by telling us that Alexandra BURKE and Robbie WILLIAMS are going to appear this weekend, and pointing out the new stage and all the shininess. He wishes Simon a happy birthday, and Simon tries to shame Dermot about his behaviour at his party - "You have me where you want me!" growls Dermot, and it's all gone a bit homoerotic. For a change.
First up, Dannii, who teases Dermot about the party too. What the hell went ON there? Rachel is the first girlie to sing. She thinks being in the final 12 is incredible, and she lives with her family, whom SHE LOVES. Earlier this week, Robbie Williams walked into the room and Rachel turned into a dizzy bint while singing for him. He tells her to go easy on herself and pretend while she's performing. She's singing and dancing. DANCING, people. We know what that means, don't we? Yes - the RETURN OF NOTLOUIS. Oh, NotLouis, how we have missed you, you fucking lunatic.
I hate what Rachel is wearing - a weird white and blue-striped sequinned top (complete with hideous shoulder pads) with leggings. She sings a version of Let Me Entertain You, with a totally different tune in the verse. And bloody hell, the choreography is dreadful, with a troupe of black lycra-clad face-painted interpretative dancers. Louis liked it though - "Rihanna sings Robbie". Cheryl says it was entertaining and that seasoned entertainers can't contend with perspex stairs. Right. Simon thinks he "misunderestimated" Rachel. THAT'S NOT EVEN A WORD. But then he also liked the choreography, and that was shite. Dannii recommends that Rachel does not take any style advice from Cowell. She is proud of her. So far, so much the same.
Louis introduces the bunch of cheap slappers who are known as Kandy Rain. He chose them because they are sexy and sassy. The girls reckon that the press have focused too much on their past jobs as strippers. Because of course the show hasn't pushed that at all [I loved the way they illustrated this bit with the most provocative pictures of the girls from the press as well. Classy, show - Rad]. Robbie thinks Kandy Rain were the surprise of the day. Simon says, "Their problem isn't the press. It's the way they sing." HA! One starts to cry. I'm not going to bother learning their names, by the way. Louis wants them to prove him right.
Oh my. They are dressed in tacky outfits from Ann Summers (one of them has her hair in what looks like mouse ears, like Karen in Mean Girls. DUH) and are singing Addicted To Love. The chorus isn't too bad cos that's when the off-stage backing singers kick in. And y'know, good song and all, but is Robert Palmer really those girls' musical hero? [I assumed the girls from the video were. - Rad]
Dannii suggests if they want to be taken seriously as singers they need to stop flashing their boobies, and Cheryl agrees - "I would have brought you out demure." They're right, you know. Louis can witter all he wants, and Simon can disagree all he wants ("The pole-dancing is a great thing!"), but girls are not going to like them. Cowell tells Cheryl and Dannii they've both performed half-naked, and Cheryl points out that it's something you might do in a video when you're established, but you can't come out and say you want to be taken seriously as singers when you're still dressing as strippers. [This left a really bad taste in my mouth, personally. I can't help thinking that if anyone else had come out dressed like they did, no one would've batted an eyelid, but because the group's angle is their SHOCKING PAST, suddenly they're dressing like whores. It felt like a particularly unpleasant variety of feminist fail that Cheryl and Dannii were the ones scolding them for it, too. - Steve] Simon says, "I'd give them a shot!" and Cheryl mutters, "I bet you would." Louis changes his mind from last week and says that boys will like them but the girls at home won't. But the TEENAGE GIRLS AND THE GAYS ARE THE ONES WHO WILL VOTE. Dermot then tries to pick a fight with Dannii and Cheryl. They're having none of it.
Simon tries to bitch at Cheryl and Dannii too, but has no more success than O'Leary. He introduces Olly who is from Essex and lives for the weekend and wants to be as big as Robbie Williams. Robbie reckons Olly hits the big notes better than he does [not difficult - Steve], and would like to be his mate. Oh whatever. He starts to sing She's The One, rather sharp, actually. Girls are screaming. It's tedious and inept.
Louis says he made it his own. Dannii says everyone wants to be his friend. Cheryl says he was nervous at the start but he dragged it back. Simon reminds everyone that Olly SOLD ELECTRICITY and has no PERFORMING EXPERIENCE and blah blah blah. He reckons Olly has a charm similar to Robbie's, and neither of them are the best singers but they are both very entertaining. [Way to butter up the star guest, there - Rad]
Cheryl introduces Rikki, who I believe we're all agreed on hating. He wears a hat throughout his VT and talks about Scotland, where he IS FROM and where he sings IN PUBS. Rikki squeals with excitement about getting to sing with Robbie, who tells him to stop crumpling at the middle and to open his eyes. Simon wants him to stop crying. Word, Simon.
Oh, this is the most hideous thing I've seen and heard. He wiggles out through the magic doors, in a purple suit (and an ill-fitting hat perched on top of his head, making him look ridiculous), clicking his fingers, and warbling Back To Black. I miss Phoebe and her Merry Band Of Skanks. [And! He fluffs the gender-changing of the lyrics so badly - keeping in 'you go back to HER' and the funniest: 'with her, er......' in the place of 'with his dick wet' - Rad. Regardless of how poorly Dannii made that joke further down the page - gender-changing songs is generally fail so she was right]
Louis is glad Rikki is back. I am not. He thinks Scotland will vote for him. Dannii likes the jazzy sound of his voice, and thinks that he should progress from Level 1 to 10. Simon thinks it was a silly song choice, a silly style, and a silly hat, with no star quality or confidence. "I can see why you were singing in those pubs," he concludes. Ouch. Cheryl says that she has Rikki's back and will help him recover his confidence. Rikki is adamant that he has star quality. Excellent display of lack of confidence there, hatboy.
Stacey is adorkable - "You know when people are just like heads and you don't think they're real, and then they're there, and you're real?" she asks Robbie. He VTs, "I love Stacey. I want one. I think every home should have one." Heh. Stacey thinks this performance could determine THE REST OF HER LIFE. Not putting too much pressure on herself, then.
Oh, she does have a lovely voice, though. Also, she has an acoustic guitarist on stage with her, as she almost manages to make Coldplay sound thrilling and dramatic. Louis loves Stacey, she is the girl next door, and she didn't pick an easy song. Cheryl says that with Stacey, what you see is what you get. Simon reckons Stacey has no idea how potentially good she could be. He thinks there is more to come from her. Dannii is glad that everyone got to hear her sing beautifully. Stacey squeals at Dermot about really enjoying her time on stage and then proclaims, "My mouth is SO DRY!" Dermot is going to get bored of her by the end of the series.
We're reminded of the genesis of Miss Frank. The girls pretend they are happier as a group than they would have been as soloists. I admire them for saying that they like their day jobs but think they would like singing more. They are excited to meet Robbie. NotLouis fears that they won't come across as a group. Simon thinks three good singers should gel automatically. Why exactly does he think this? What evidence is there? Idiot.
The ladies sing Who's Loving You. They have extensive help from the off-stage backing singers, but their solo bits are all incredible (if a little bit liable to veer off-key with enthusiasm at the top of their ranges). Dannii thinks they look amazing and she wants Graziella to do some rapping. Cheryl says they're her favourite group (but seriously, there's not a great deal of competition). Simon thinks it was a great song choice, and a great decision of his to put the girls together as a group. Then he totally embarrasses himself by pointing at Shar and Shaniece and calling them "bookends", and pointing to Graziella and calling her "the one in the middle". Why not just say they all look the same to you, Simon, you fool? [Because Simon never bothering to learn the individual names of the groups' members - even when he's mentoring them - is one of this show's favourite running gags. - Steve]
Simon just about remembers Jamie Afro's name. Jamie cannot believe he is in the final 12. Nor can I, James Afro. Simon thinks that because he is 34, this is his FINAL SHOT. 34 is, after all, very very old. Robbie suggests not to start low-key because it is boring and will not hold the audience. Never mind, the stage is laden with creative direction! Golden griffins and a drum kit and all sorts, to accompany a really dull version of Get It On. Oh, and Robbie is right; it's much more engaging once he kicks up an octave.
Louis purports to love T.Rex. He wants Jamie to be more versatile. Dannii waves her arms around and says that Jamie is brave to sing on the show after having sung in pubs. What? Cheryl thought it was authentic, but Jamie needs to believe in himself more. Simon thought it was much better than everything else so far tonight, and if Jamie was Louis's act, he'd be in a blazer singing Father And Son. Which is true, to be fair.
Cheryl gleefully introduces "my little Lloyd Daniels", who is hated vehemently by at least one of your Bitchers [After tonight's performance I'll add myself to that list - Rad]. Lloyd wails about being from a SMALL HOUSE near CARDIFF, which is BEAUTIFUL. Robbie reminisces about being 16, when he joined Take That, and suggests that Lloyd shouldn't sing the high notes. NotLouis is bewildered by Lloyd's inability to perform his insane choreography. Well, we're bewildered by your inability to get a job you can actually do, Friedman.
Gosh, this is an offensively bad version of Cry Me A River (Timberlake version). And if NotLouis choreographed in the hand gesture for "phone", he needs to be taken outside and kicked. [In defence of NotLouis, he also choreographed the crazy mad stalker dancer, who is officially the only good thing about this performance, so he gets a pass from me. - Steve] Louis says Lloyd can't sing but that doesn't matter because he's a pop star, or something. Dannii says that Lloyd is better than Robbie was, or something. Simon thinks Lloyd has done really well, and is back on the map, having proved he is young, or something. Lloyd says many things, none of which are comprehensible.
Dannii introduces Lucie. Know where she's from, guys? The MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, in WALES. She rang her dad from the supermarket to ask him what potatoes to buy. Now I want to slap her a bit. Robbie tells her worry won't do her any good, and hugs her. She screeches, "Anyone got a camera?" Lucie - this is going to be on telly, you know? I don't think you'll be short of documentary evidence.
I thought we'd already established that Lucie could sing ballads, and we'd had a debate about it the other day? No matter, she's got another one, Footprints In The Sand, and she does a fine job, particularly with the wind machine that blows her hair into her face. Still not a patch on Leona. Louis says that the show has found another great female singer from Wales (in addition to who?) [I assumed Shirley Bassey and Bonnie Tyler and such - I think the emphasis was on "great female singer from Wales" rather than "this show has found". - Steve]; Cheryl says that Lucie has a lovely voice in her own right; Simon says that Lucie will be compared to Leona, but she can't hit the big notes. And then Louis ludicrously says that Leona was not as good as Lucie in her first show. Dermot enthuses with Lucie over the key change. Fair enough.
And here's what we've been waiting for. JOHN AND EDWARD. Louis is likening them to Boyzone still. "I know I'm not wrong," he says. John and Edward are from a SMALL VILLAGE IN IRELAND. [I miss dead parents. SMALL VILLAGES that aren't really small villages just don't have the same effect - Rad] They talk a lot at Robbie and he seems a bit pissed off, though he says nice things to the camera. John and Edward are adamant that they are really nice boys and that people have been really horrible to them. Alternatively, one might say they are not very nice boys, and people have said the truth about them.
Fuck. Did they just abseil on to the stage? They karaoke their way through Rock DJ with the help of invisible backing singers and some sparkly dancers. Dannii says that the boys have the whole country talking, and her girls have told her that they are nice boys except when they steal the food from the fridge. Cheryl says she admires them for even getting on the stage because of all the stick they've received, they can't sing, but it's not their fault they're in the final 12 - "good for you for coming out here tonight." Ooh, burn. [People in glass houses, Cheryl. - Steve] Simon is trying to find nice things to say. Epic pause. "For your age...you are amazingly thick-skinned. To succeed in this business, you've got to have thick skin," he says. But then he calls it a musical nightmare, and accuses Louis of putting them through because they're Irish. Which is true. Louis then strops about "people in Ireland can't vote for some reason" (probably because it's a different country?), and congratulates John and Edward for being nice people. "Not all the pop stars in the chart are great singers," he concludes. Wow, brilliant reassurance from your mentor there, boys. [Whatever, this performance was infinitely less offensive than Lloyd's, and he got a tongue-bath for it, so everyone is on crack tonight. - Steve]
Time for the other regionalistic selection - Cheryl's Joe. He's from South Shields, y'know. He lives in a small flat with his mum. Joe was nervous to sing one of Robbie's songs to Robbie himself - "It's a goodie, isn't it?" agrees Robbie. Joe whines about only being 18 and not knowing how to deliver a big song that needs feeling and conviction.
Ah, it's No Regrets. He's mistaken conviction for TOO MUCH VIBRATO. He can hit the notes really nicely, but Yvie's going to have to rein in the warble because it's dreadful to listen to. Louis notes that it's an effortless vocal, and thinks Joe is one to watch. Dannii says that he nailed it and that he is a superstar. Except not. Simon thought it was absolutely brilliant, and a fantastic choice of song. Cheryl is very happy, for she needs validation.
Right, down to the last one, then. Dermot barks, "Simon!" to catch his attention, because he needs to introduce Danyl. Yes, he of BEST FIRST AUDITION EVER. Simon says Danyl is like a singing puppy. Danyl was excited to meet Robbie; Robbie suggests that he tone some things down. Simon has given him a big diva song to sing, and Cheryl, Louis and Yvie all seem a bit dubious about it because it's a WOMAN'S SONG. Sexists.
Oh FOR FUCK'S SAKE HE IS SINGING AND I AM TELLING YOU. Fuck off. I'm fucking sick of this fucking bastard song and this show. And it's not even a very good version of it - there's too much in his low register, and it only becomes at all interesting with his final note, when he shifts up an octave and the pyrotechnics go off. Louis thinks he is a great performer, but he is over-confident and needs to be more likeable [Dammit, Louis, stop making me agree with you - Rad]. Oh, right, like John and Edward. Dannii says it was a great X-Factor performance changing a girl's song into a guy's song - "but if we're to believe everything we read in the papers you didn't need to change the gender references." There's a silence. Simon asks her to repeat it, which she does. Set up much? Danyl is grinning away. As well he might. And for all the people shouting, "Don't believe the papers!" from the audience, wasn't it Danyl himself who flogged the story about his bisexuality? Cheryl butts in, and says the atmosphere was tangible, and he has to walk a fine line between confidence and cockiness, and he needs to take a tip from Simon. Heh. Simon reckons it was one of the best performances he's ever heard in his life. Simon is odd tonight. Danyl starts to sob. Simon says to Dannii that she is not to play "any of those games with him". Oh, whatever. WHATEVER. [Simon really doesn't believe anyone is going to vote for a contestant who's not 100% heterosexual, does he? I hardly think Dannii repeating something that was already seen and discussed by millions when it appeared in a tabloid is going to affect things one way or the other. As far as I could tell, it wasn't even intended as sabotage, just as a bit of a matey joke that misfired enormously. - Steve]
I'm sick of this sodding show already. Join Steve tomorrow night for the results!